St George Illawarra’s opening blitz stuns South Sydney

Little more than three minutes later, the Rabbitohs defenders were already gathered behind the try line again after Jack de Belin crashed over.


And just in case any of the fans had missed his first, Ravalawa added a second off a Zac Lomax flick pass.

South Sydney’s defence was so flimsy they’d “forgot to pack their attitude”, so said Cameron Smith in Nine’s commentary. If anyone needed proof of that, they just needed to wait for the next Dragons try.

St George Illawarra centre Moses Suli went straight across the top of Jaxson Paulo to claim a cross-field kick before bullying Kodi Nikorima across the line for the Dragons’ fifth. Then it was fullback Cody Ramsey beating four defenders for their sixth.

Rabbitohs playmaker Ilias was hooked before the clock hit 30 minutes. Nikorima shifted into the halves with Blake Taaffe coming off the bench at fullback, but the Dragons’ ability to outrun the clock had little to do with the opposition halfback. Even Adam Reynolds wasn’t stopping this onslaught.

The Rabbitohs’ defence was as lazy as venue security’s effort to remove a pitch invader who held up play in the second half. A Dragons staff member ran from the second level of the southern stand and got closer than security did before Blake Lawrie brought a stop to the nonsense.

Campbell Graham’s Rabbitohs were stunned in the first half.Credit:Getty Images

Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou implored his side to show pride in the jersey in the second half. Damien Cook and Cam Murray did just that with back-to-back tries.

The Dragons lost their sting but the damage was done. The Rabbitohs left certain of one thing: Latrell Mitchell’s comeback can’t come quick enough.

Mitchell returned to training at Redfern this week, with the star fullback restricted to light duties after emerging from COVID-19 isolation over the weekend.

A positive COVID-19 test quashed any hope of Mitchell being fit in time to face the Dragons after returning from a trip to the United States to work on his troublesome hamstring with reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles. Mitchell’s first club game will be against Parramatta in a fortnight.

It leaves Mitchell with very little hope of mounting a State of Origin rescue mission for NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, who would be forced to pick the 25-year-old with just 258 minutes of NRL football to his name in nearly 10 months before game two in Perth on Sunday week.

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